A GIFTED Widnes songwriter is hoping his dream of becoming a professional recording artist could soon come true.

Martin McInerney, aged 26, is competing in The Voice of Ireland, the Irish edition of the reality TV talent show, The Voice.

Three of the four judges battled to coach him after a powerful performance of ‘Mercy’ in a blind audition.

Coach Dolores O’Riordan said: “That was a meticulous performance, in pitching, nuances. Your tone is musky, smouldering. I like it because it is quite different.”

Jamelia said: “I have to fight for this guy. You’ve got little inflections, the tone of your voice is what people want to buy.”

Former SS Peter & Paul pupil, Martin chose Jamelia.

Each coach has now picked 10 acts who will be teamed into duos for the battle shows.

The series goes live on March 17.

The winner will receive a recording contract with Universal Music.

Martin from Hough Green, who now lives in Cork with his brother, James, a professional musician, said: “I have been working flat out to make a career in music.

“Hopefully I’ll be able to buy my mam and all my family a house some day.

“The blind audition was nerve racking. To think your life may depend on the performance of one song is a strange sentiment to walk onto stage to.”

Martin’s mum, Karen lives in Brookdale and he has a four-year-old son, Caleb.

His nan, Clara Mullarkey lives in Royal Avenue.

Martin left Widnes in 2011 to join the French Foreign Legion but after failing to get an army commission he travelled across Europe playing in bars.

He added: “Hopefully, my experience in live performance will keep the nerves at bay and allow me to keep it real for the live shows.

“I’ll be trying to do the most popular songs but put a twist in to keep the younger crowd entertained.”

Watch the video of his blind audition below.